Woman sues American Airlines after bottle from overhead bin smashes her head

A Bay area woman is suing American Airlines after a bottle fell from an overhead bin and struck her.

A Bay area woman suing American Airlines after she says a Snapple bottle smashed her in the head during landing.

“Right there, I don't know it might be like this, it hit over here,” says Noosi Puls as she points to where the glass bottle landed on her head.  Her American Airlines flight had just touched down in Tampa, when she says the overhead compartment flew open and the half-full bottle came crashing down.

“Pain.  I just felt dizzy.  They asked me, ‘You dizzy?’  I said, yes and I can’t walk,” Puls recounts.

Doctors say she has post-concussive syndrome.  Now, nearly a year-and-a-half later, she’s still suffering, has to get pain-blocking injections, and medical bills are mounting.

“The bottle colliding with her head has caused permanent nerve damage.  The nerve damage has caused pain.  The pain has led to memory loss, depression, headaches,” says attorney Domenick Lazzara.

Lazzara says American Airlines told them to gather medical bills.. but still hasn't gotten a response from the airlines.

Now they plan to file this federal lawsuit.

“When you go on an airplane, you expect to be safe.  You don't expect things to fall from the sky, literally and hit you in the head.  American Airlines has to do a better job of securing the overhead compartments.  Federal Aviation requires airlines to secure the overhead compartment, and do periodic checks before the plane lands and when the plane is in flight to ensure the overhead compartment is secured.  In this case, they obviously didn't do that because it opened suddenly and without warning,” says Lazzara.

“I hope and pray to God that I don't have to go through this for the rest of my life, because it's painful,” says Puls.

American Airlines says in a statement, “Our crew members, in accordance with federal regulations, secure overhead bins prior to departure and landing. Throughout the flight, if a passenger opens an overhead bin when the seat belt sign is off, we request that they be secured once a passenger removes an item.”  The company insists they’ve tried to reach out to the passenger and her attorney without a response.

Applicable federal law

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/121.285

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/121.589

This isn't the first lawsuit we've seen make headlines as a customer takes on a big company.

A customer claimed Starbucks put too much ice in drinks.  A judge dismissed that $5 million suit.

A group said Subway's footlong didn't quite measure up to the 12-inch-mark.  The company settled that suit for a half-million dollars, almost all of that went to attorneys’ fees.

And remember the 79-year-old woman who sued McDonalds when hot coffee spilled and burned her lap?  She settled with the business for an undisclosed amount.

Do you think American Airlines should be on the hook?

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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